Top Republicans want all tax cuts extended

Top Republicans called on
Democrats in Congress and the White House to extend all the tax cuts that are
set to expire at the end of this year. 

Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the
top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, joined House Minority Whip Eric
Cantor (R-Va.) in pushing for the extension of a series of taxes set to expire
at the end of this year, including a series of cuts for households making more
than $250,000 per year. 

“If you want to do something
to stimulate the economy, you could make clear that tax rates aren’t going to
go up at the end of the year,” Gregg said during an appearance on CNBC. “If
this administration really wants to stimulate, say they’re going to continue
those tax rates — all those tax rates.”

The tax cuts on income and
dividends that Republican Congresses had approved during the administration of
President George W. Bush are set to expire at the end of 2010. 

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)
suggested on Friday that Democrats would
look to extend some of those tax cuts
, most likely for
households making less than a quarter of a million dollars, while letting taxes
for households earning more than $250,000 spring upwards to rates preceding the
Bush tax cuts. Dorgan also said it was likely that Democrats would allow the
dividend rate to appreciate, but only to 20 percent, instead of the 39.6
percent rate where it stood before it was cut. 

“We’re all about trying to
keep the current law as it is, and not allow the administration to raise these
taxes,” Cantor said on CNBC. “Now what we’re continuing to hear out of the
White House is that they’re going to want to make those rates — keep them as
they are for folks making under $250,000 a year, and then taxing everybody else
above that, raising them back up.”

Extending the tax cuts, in
part or in whole, makes for tough choices for lawmakers. Current budget figures
count on the tax rates rising upward at the end of the year, meaning that
extending the cuts could exacerbate the budget situation unless they’re offset
by cuts in spending. Additionally, any vote on those taxes could clash with recommendations
from President Barack Obama’s fiscal commission, which is set to issue
recommendations on how to shore up the long-term budget situation at the end of
the year. 

Obama has also promised not to raise taxes on households earning
less than $250,000 a year, putting pressure on Democrats when it comes to tax votes.

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